Are Pavlov’s Dogs now smelling books??


Ivan Pavlov’s (1849-1936) legacy was in conditioning, most notably the “conditioning reflex.”

He would cement a device into a dogs mouth which would measure the amount of saliva.(I know, not a good vision for animal lovers)

He would ring a bell and then feed the dog. After a while, as soon as he would ring the bell, the dog would salivate, showing the dog was conditioned that the bell equalled food.

After a while, he would ring the bell, but not feed the dog, it would still salivate. Further proof that “conditioning” existed. After a while, it would stop salivating when the bell rang, now being classed as “de-conditioned”

Now there are many examples of conditioning, but Pavlov is reputed to be the first.


Why Would You Want To Smell A Book? until a few years ago, E-readers didn’t exist in any form which made them practically useful. If you wanted to read, you bought a book. Pretty simple?

Now E-readers are becoming popular, all of a sudden, people are sniffing books?

I mean, What the hell is that about? Its paper and glue, if you want to get a high, go sniff something with a bit of kick to it!

People are conditioning themselves into thinking that to get a good story, you need to be sniffing parchment.

Just to test my theory, I picked three books out of my bookshelf; A relatively recent book bought this year, a Mid range book I have owned for 10 years,and a book published in 1957 and gave them a good old sniff.

What did I smell? Paper! ( And perhaps plague from the 1957 dictionary!)

I just don’t get it. Am I the only one who thinks people who smells books are a bit weird?

Do they go into Bookshops and have a sly sniff?

smell_of_booksIs there a secret society of book sniffers? (Turns out there is! well OK, not that secret. There is a woman who is sniffing all 30,000 books in MOMA and writing a journal about it. Don’t believe me? Check here ) (Pic courtesy of this website)

Freshly baked bread,  a rose or a Sunday dinner I can understand. But a book?

And why discriminate about books? Do they sniff a box of envelopes? They are paper and glue as well, or a Post-It pad?


Whether a book is written on screen, paper, or stone tablet, it is only as good as a sum of its words. The fact it has a papery aroma doesn’t affect the story.

So can you all stop sniffing and go back to reading?


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